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View Full Version : Nick Sekela's Outstanding Work!!



Brumagin
12-28-2006, 02:35 PM
Friends,

I had the need for a few QUALITY products a few weeks back and contacted Mr. Sekela. He filled the order with a quick turn around time and great craftsmanship. Nick had some poor press a while back, but I have never had an issue with him. I have been ordering products from him for years and will continue to in the future. He is a true tailor with knowledge that far exceeds the norm. He has a line of goods that are not offered with many other vendors and products that are great.

If anyone has a need for quality items but have been scared by the things you have read, they are not true. He is a good guy with outstanding skills and products. Thanks Nick.

Brent Brumagin

Rob
12-29-2006, 07:34 PM
When I bought one of his private-purchase (Bent & Bush) caps in September, he was nothing but supportive and accommodating. He got it to me within a week, despite the fact that the USPS routed the package to parts unknown.

(I remember thinking, "Is this the same guy who supposedly kicks small dogs and pulls the wings off butterflies?" I must have been misinformed.)

I can't wait to see those Union Army jeans...

Footslogger
12-30-2006, 04:15 AM
There are those of us in the UK that have had dealings with Nick over the years, and we have never had any problems with his product line, or workmanship which has always been of the highest quality.
He may have taken a beating in the press but at the end of the day you can't knock a man for feeling passionate about what he produces, especially when he's right.
We can have our say when it comes to vendors, if we get a duff deal from a vendor we can tell the world with no come backs, unfortunately when its another vendor trying to warn us something out there is not all its cracked up to be then all **** breaks loose.
Keep up the good work Nick, actions speak louder than words, as people are beginning to find out.

Regards

Provost
01-01-2007, 03:23 PM
Actually, Steve, it's not true that you can "tell the world with no come backs."

Our forum policies discourage negative posts about sellers because we are not able to fact-check them and it exposes the forums to a liability we do not wish to risk. If anyone has a problem with a vendor, they need to work it out with the vendor, not on the forums.

Imagine if you were the vendor and it was your reputation that was at risk. You'd want to be treated respectfully and that's the standard we set here.

Respectfully,

Provost

tompritchett
01-02-2007, 01:33 AM
We can have our say when it comes to vendors, if we get a duff deal from a vendor we can tell the world with no come backs, unfortunately when its another vendor trying to warn us something out there is not all its cracked up to be then all **** breaks loose.

I want to re-iterate the point the Provost brought up about negative posts - attacks against vendors and "warnings" can not be tolerated for various reasons including potential liabilities as well as our inability to confirm or disprove any allegations made. In the past I have allowed posts to continue that should have been immediately shut down. My mistake and I will do my best to make sure it does not happen again. Also in the past we had a post that challenged the period correctness of a particular artifact upon which a particular vendor product was based. Again, that particular post was troubling because of its potential implication towards the vendor and consequently I had to keep a very tight rein on the thread to keep the focus of the discussion only on the original artifact and not on the vendor's product - even to the point of temporarily alienating parties on both sides of the issue.

Remember, we, as moderators, have to be totally unbiased, impartial, neutral (and whatever other appropriate adjective you can think of) in all our interactions in such disputes. As moderators we have no favorites, regardless of what our personal preferences may be, and we must zealously respect and protect the rights of all respective parties. Even if we personally think that one vendor's products are more historically correct than even the originals while another vendor's products are lightyears below the worst of the farbs, as moderators it is our job and obligation to treat each with the same curtesy and respect.

Have I personally always been able always to live up to high standards? Probably not, and for that I apologize to any that have been injured as a result. But that it the standard we all try our best to live up to.

Respectfully submitted,

Kevin O'Beirne
01-02-2007, 12:16 PM
Out of curiousity, are posts about a vendor that are really positive okay? I reckon that some of those types of statements are also difficult to verify.

This is a serious question.

bob 125th nysvi
01-02-2007, 02:16 PM
Out of curiousity, are posts about a vendor that are really positive okay? I reckon that some of those types of statements are also difficult to verify.

This is a serious question.

posts would be within the guidelines because even if unveriafiable they are well positive.

It is easy to develop a negative opinion because of either treatment or actual product a vendor may deliver to one individual. But that may be 1 in 1000.

A positive experience may help those of us who are considering acquiring items include that vendor on the list.

I mean if you believed up all the negative posts ever posted about vendors there'd be no one to do business with and we'd all have sheep in the back yard trying to grow wool for our hand made products.

Also a positive posting is more difficult to write because it (usually) isn't ignited by passion and it really has to float your boat in order to excite you enough to sit down and write the article.

What I'm wondering is would the ban include a "review" of a product. For example: "This replica 1861 Springfield shoots well and is easy to maintain but the modern manufacturers markings are clearly visible on the barrel and this may encourage some people to consider the pricing of "defarbing" this product as part of their total acquisition cost."

Real slippery slope here, what is a legitimate review and what is just vinegar? But not knowing the value or pluses/minuses about a product can make acquisition a real crap shoot.

I do understand the moderators positions on negative posts though.

And as a complete aside: Thank you moderators fo rth ework you do.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

Provost
01-02-2007, 02:51 PM
Bob,

Valid point. The "How To" forum would be the proper place for those sort of reviews. I'd LOVE to see more done like that. It's what it's there for.

You struck the right note in your sample. It sticks to the facts and is forthright, yet respectful. Respect doesn't mean namby-pamby, "everything is ok as long as you have good intentions". It just means that if you were in the other guy's shoes, how would you feel if someone else said it?

As an old guy I used to know said, "You can tell a feller to go to **** in such a way he looks forward to the trip."

Provost

Provost
01-02-2007, 02:54 PM
Kevin,

No one ever threatened a lawsuit over wild enthusiasm in praise of their product.

'Nuff said? :)

Provost

Kevin O'Beirne
01-02-2007, 04:51 PM
Bob and All,

It is indeed a slipperly slope. If adverse experiences with "Vendor A" cannot be posted, then conversely isn't it also true that gushing, positive reviews are in a similar vein? These can, and at a few times in the past, have been, orchestrated by certain vendors. I also want to say that, merely because these questions are asked on a thread about a certain vendor in no way implies that this vendor engaged in such activities--I have no reason to believe that he has.

Also, what constitutes a "product review"? Quite a number of vendors' goods would not fare terribly well when compared solely against originals relative to accuracy. Quite a few "accurate repros" on the other hand may not compare terribly well with some consumers' expectations of durability merely because those repros are accurate even down to not being very long-lasting (few are like that; if anything, even the more-accurate repros are much more durable than many originals I've seen, particularly relative to things like haversacks, knapsacks, and leather gear).

If someone posts a review of Vendor A's products and nitpicks them compared to originals (and it can be done to the most exacting repros, because few items really pass well for originals), is that somehow disparaging Vendor A merely because no one did a comparable review nitpicking his competition? After all, the world of reenactor vendor politics is somewhat murky and, at times (so I've heard) not terribly pleasant.

Obvously, a person who posts a comparison of Vendor A's wares vs. originals cannot be expected by the forum management to review all similar items offered for sale at that time (and of course, the quality and accuracy of many vendors' wares change over time), so if a pesron posts a review of one vendor's product and Vendor B's product isn't mentioned but is "worse" in terms of quality or some other parameter a person cares to name, isn't that a defacto endorsement of Vendor B at the expense of Vendor A?

Finally, if a vendor provides poor customer service, shouldn't that too be communicated to the folks who read this forum?

Yep, it's a slippery slope to limit what can and cannot be said. :confused:

flattop32355
01-02-2007, 05:28 PM
Bob and All,

It is indeed a slipperly slope. If adverse experiences with "Vendor A" cannot be posted, then conversely isn't it also true that gushing, positive reviews are in a similar vein?

Much has to do with perception.

The usual perception of a good, or even an over the top, expression of adulation for a vendor is that it's someone's "opinion".

In the negative, it is perceived as slander or worse, which courts the lawsuit.

The law most often deals in negatives, not positives.

Kevin O'Beirne
01-02-2007, 07:52 PM
The law most often deals in negatives, not positives.

True, but the interpretation of the law in courts is based on what's common sense and fair. Usually. :cool:

tompritchett
01-02-2007, 08:31 PM
Also, what constitutes a "product review"? Quite a number of vendors' goods would not fare terribly well when compared solely against originals relative to accuracy. Quite a few "accurate repros" on the other hand may not compare terribly well with some consumers' expectations of durability merely because those repros are accurate even down to not being very long-lasting (few are like that; if anything, even the more-accurate repros are much more durable than many originals I've seen, particularly relative to things like haversacks, knapsacks, and leather gear).

If someone posts a review of Vendor A's products and nitpicks them compared to originals (and it can be done to the most exacting repros, because few items really pass well for originals), is that somehow disparaging Vendor A merely because no one did a comparable review nitpicking his competition? After all, the world of reenactor vendor politics is somewhat murky and, at times (so I've heard) not terribly pleasant.

Obvously, a person who posts a comparison of Vendor A's wares vs. originals cannot be expected by the forum management to review all similar items offered for sale at that time (and of course, the quality and accuracy of many vendors' wares change over time), so if a pesron posts a review of one vendor's product and Vendor B's product isn't mentioned but is "worse" in terms of quality or some other parameter a person cares to name, isn't that a defacto endorsement of Vendor B at the expense of Vendor A?


In the past there have been attempts at such reviews. Unfortunately, a few of those reviews were being written by a competing vendor who has an obvious, potential conflict of interest. Where it gets even slipperier is when that competing vendor may be the most qualified person to make just such a review. As a result, my personal feelings (I can not and will not speak for the Provost) are that for such a review to be acceptable, it must come from a totally dis-interested party - even when that person may not be the most qualified person to make that review. Even then, replies and comments to such a review can again hit the slippery slope when they are coming from someone has "a dog in the fight". In all such cases, I now fall back on my government ethics training where we were taught that even the appearance of a potential conflict of interest is a conflict of interest (unfortunately, this rule only applies to low level members of the executive branch and not to members of Congress).


Finally, if a vendor provides poor customer service, shouldn't that too be communicated to the folks who read this forum?

Again this is an issue that we have had to deal with in the fairly recent past. I remember not too long ago such a thread started and I greatly exceeded my authority as a moderator by, instead of shutting the thread down, actually setting up an unbiased as possible poll for people to respond whether they found this vendor's customer service to be acceptable. That is definitely something I would never do unless specifically requested to do so and authorized by the Provost.

Unfortunately, I am not sure there is a good answer to the question given the potential liability issues. After all, while the overall justice system with its appeal process ultimately follows general common sense, it only takes one bad jury to ruin one's day. Plus, even when common sense indeed wins out in the initial trial, the legal costs involved may end up making it a truly Pyrrhic victory.

You have asked some very thought provoking questions for which, unfortunately, there are not always easy answers.

flattop32355
01-02-2007, 09:50 PM
True, but the interpretation of the law in courts is based on what's common sense and fair. Usually. :cool:

Depends upon who is sitting on the bench at the time.

Ken
01-03-2007, 07:03 AM
Just a thought when it comes to vendors. There are many definitions for quality. One is "Fitness For Use". In most cases it is the customer who defines this. In the case of those individuals seeking exacting standards the item must meet certain criteria (i.e. proper period tailoring, handsewing, handsewn buttonholes, properly dyed fabrics etc. etc.). This is why some reenactors will only buy from certain vendors, while others without such exacting standards are willing to go to other vendors. I don't believe it is unfair when defining that level or standard as it applies to "fitness for use" that any vendor who professes to meet that standard be willing to back it up with the information neccessary to justify the claim. Meeting pre-defined standards helps to create a level playing field for all vendors who compete for a given market. Not all vendors are created equal.

tompritchett
01-03-2007, 10:55 AM
Depends upon who is sitting on the bench at the time.

And the ability of the plaintiffs lawyer to push enough emotional buttons with the jury to cause them to throw common sense out the window and vote otherwise.

Kevin O'Beirne
01-03-2007, 12:26 PM
In the past there have been attempts at such reviews. Unfortunately, a few of those reviews were being written by a competing vendor who has an obvious, potential conflict of interest. Where it gets even slipperier is when that competing vendor may be the most qualified person to make just such a review. As a result, my personal feelings (I can not and will not speak for the Provost) are that for such a review to be acceptable, it must come from a totally dis-interested party - even when that person may not be the most qualified person to make that review. Even then, replies and comments to such a review can again hit the slippery slope when they are coming from someone has "a dog in the fight".

Tom,

I understand that at times some vendors have even written such "reviews" and then had the review posted by one of their non-vendor acquaintances. Defining who's a "dis-interested party" can also be a challenge.

bob 125th nysvi
01-03-2007, 01:32 PM
basically advertising is a positive product review put out by the vendor who has a vested interest in looking good. And there are probably a few who might stoop to 'salting' the reviews.

And then someone who has had a negative experience with a vendor has a vested interest in 'getting even'. So they might post a negative review.

Neither can properly be considered a review of the product because the reviewer is biased coming in.

Ahhh ... but how do we tell them apart from legitimate reviews? The devil is in the details.

As to reviewing the product v an original well there are a huge number of pitfalls concerning that because, short of using orginal production techniques, there is 140 years of technology between us and the Civil War. And that affects EVERYTHING from the materials used to how they are put together (think sewing thread production hasn't changed?) to how they are stored and shipped.

But it could be done .. for example "this sack coat's weave is almost an exact match to the original held in the Whosit Collection (as checked by the reviewer). Button holes are hand sewn and the pattern also matches the coat in the Whosit. The coat as delivered met the requested size specifications. In wearing the coat out in the field it was warm (daytime temperatures were BLANK) and didn't tear as this reviewer moved through the brush despite being grabbed by thorns. A weekend's hard use didn't put any noticable blemishes in the coat and when reviewing pictures of the event the color was within the range of the colors used by the unit this reviewer participated with. In the reviewer's opinion this coat is reasonably priced (state retail) for the reenactor looking to upgrade his impression or even for a high end initial impression."

It is done in trade magazines all the time.

The problem for the moderators becomes when unsubstantiated negative reviews are published or outright negative opinions not backed by facts.

As I see the issue for the board becomes when someone posts a positive review and someone responds with "I bought it, it stunk and here's why!"

Now are we stifling free speech if a well mannered conversation on the merits of the product is not allowed?

HHHmmm ... how do we get information out, that is factual and useful in a positive manner even when the information is negative?

Afterall as reenactors we need to exchange info on what products work and why but also on which ones don't and why not.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

Kevin O'Beirne
01-03-2007, 04:47 PM
Bob,

In its previous incarnation The Watchdog quarterly was a publication devoted pretty much exclusively to reviewing wares of vendors of repro products versus originals. It was a darned good (and useful) notion that seems to have been discontinued and may be needed now just as much as when it was first implemented.

You asked about "free speech". As I see it, vendors are what they make in terms of product and reputation, and customer service is part of the mix in what makes a vendor attractive to potential customers. Either there should be no restrictions on discussing vendors, or perhaps all discussion of repro wares should be disallowed. Allowing only half of a discussion seems a little, well, "incomplete" as I see it.

tompritchett
01-03-2007, 05:18 PM
I understand that at times some vendors have even written such "reviews" and then had the review posted by one of their non-vendor acquaintances. Defining who's a "dis-interested party" can also be a challenge.

You are SO right.

SmellyFed
01-03-2007, 05:21 PM
Bob,

In its previous incarnation The Watchdog quarterly was a publication devoted pretty much exclusively to reviewing wares of vendors of repro products versus originals. It was a darned good (and useful) notion that seems to have been discontinued and may be needed now just as much as when it was first implemented.

I share your enthusiasm for the previous incarnation of the Watchdog, Mr. Christen always did a fine job of getting those reviews and they were very timely.



You asked about "free speech". As I see it, vendors are what they make in terms of product and reputation, and customer service is part of the mix in what makes a vendor attractive to potential customers. Either there should be no restrictions on discussing vendors, or perhaps all discussion of repro wares should be disallowed. Allowing only half of a discussion seems a little, well, "incomplete" as I see it.

Fair and unbiased is pretty hard to do on a consistent basis - especially on internet forums. The free for all method that was Lee's Authentic Reenactor forum wasn't the answer and the highly moderated model has its own set of pitfalls. These types of reviews and threads are falliable and hopefully more gear decisions than not are being made on Sunday afternoon in the parking lot and not just on internet forums.

I for one am glad to hear that NJ Sekela's customers are happy with his work. I know Brent Brumagin from years past - he's a man of his word, he knows and has studied material culture, and I trust that he's not just a mouthpiece for anyone.

tompritchett
01-03-2007, 05:24 PM
Either there should be no restrictions on discussing vendors, or perhaps all discussion of repro wares should be disallowed. Allowing only half of a discussion seems a little, well, "incomplete" as I see it.

Very good point. Mr. Provost what are your views on this?

bob 125th nysvi
01-04-2007, 11:52 AM
Yeah Kevin that is the devil in the details.

If we only allow good reviews we become a rah-rah mount piece.

If we allow unsubstantiated (or even substantiated) bad reviews then the moderators are open to nusiance lawsuits.

Man what a problem ... don't get info out an people get rooked or good products get overlooked.

I hate to say it but NO reviews is the 'safest' course even if it isn't the best.

**** lawyers.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

Frenchie
01-04-2007, 02:49 PM
It means the vendors will have to do good advertising in Sutler Row. I'm all for it. One more waste of time and bandwidth we don't need to worry about.

And as long as the rule isn't yet in force, Nick Sekela's stuff is top-notch and he's not nearly as big a jerk as some people say he is :D ;)

Trooper Graham
01-04-2007, 03:27 PM
It means the vendors will have to do good advertising in Sutler Row. I'm all for it. One more waste of time and bandwidth we don't need to worry about.

And as long as the rule isn't yet in force, Nick Sekela's stuff is top-notch and he's not nearly as big a jerk as some people say he is :D ;)


I am about to partake in the possession of a N Sekela Type II Forage Cap. Only twenty-nine more items to upgrade and I can then go back over to the AC forum and whack away at mainstreamers...:rolleyes: :rolleyes: Then again I could stay here and do the same thing.

SmellyFed
01-05-2007, 08:24 AM
I am about to partake in the possession of a N Sekela Type II Forage Cap. Only twenty-nine more items to upgrade and I can then go back over to the AC forum and whack away at mainstreamers...:rolleyes: :rolleyes: Then again I could stay here and do the same thing.

Yeah, stay here please.

Provost
01-16-2007, 06:19 PM
Negative posts about -vendors- are not allowed.

Factually based reviews of gear, as outlined (and examples given) in several points on this thread, are to be encouraged. Just make sure that it is just that, focused on the gear and based on the facts. No more, no less.

This is basic Golden Rule stuff, folks, let's not muddy the waters with convoluted language, trying to be lawyers.